RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In an 8News exclusive, reporter Olivia Jaquith interviewed Vice President Kamala Harris during her visit to Richmond on Thursday to ask her about the state of the economy and what is being done to support small business.
Air Force Two touched down at Richmond International Airport (RIC) as Harris paid a visit to the River City for National Small Business Week. She stopped at Babylon Micro-Farms in Scott’s Addition, which uses a water-based nutrient solution rather than soil to make indoor farming more accessible. The company has recently gained national notoriety and was featured in Forbes last year.
Babylon Micro-Farms also received grant money to support its work. The Biden-Harris Administration has called the success of Babylon and other small businesses like it a “small business boom.”
“Small businesses are the backbone of America’s economy,” Harris said.
After Harris toured Babylon’s facilities, she spoke with 8News in an exclusive, one-on-one interview on the economic challenges of Virginians.
White House officials said that the Biden-Harris Administration has been working to create more than 230,000 jobs in the last month alone.
“[We’re] actually creating incentives for people who are entrepreneurial, people who have an idea to actually start a business,” Harris said. “In fact, here in Virginia, we’ve seen 255,000 filings for new businesses.”
However, this boom in jobs has presented another challenge as small business owners are struggling to fill the positions they already have.
“In March, we saw 143,000 Virginians who were unemployed, but small business owners are still saying, ‘Hey, I’m having trouble hiring,'” 8News asked Harris. “So, what do you say to people on both sides of that challenge?”
“I understand the concerns of the employers, and we want to do everything we can to grow the workforce, and that’s a lot of the work that we have been doing that’s been about apprenticeships and making sure that people have options in terms of skills development and training to be able to take on the jobs that need to be performed,” Harris said. “We’re here at Babylon Farms, where they literally have a business model where people can virtually come off the street with no skills and go through a six-week training program right here on the site, and we’re seeing a lot more of that around the country, which is the willingness of employers to partner, for example, with labor unions.”
As for the state of the economy, Harris says the administration is also working to address the cost of food, gas and healthcare.
You can watch our full interview with Harris below: